I ran into WalMart last night on my way to meet with the SW Life Group that has adopted us and felt bowled over by the carnival atmosphere. My footstep slowed as the lights and music and color and food, food, food crowded 'round me. A vision of empty store shelves in a shop lit only by daylight from the window at a gas station with no fuel slammed my mind and stole my breath. I took a cart and headed down the aisle fighting back tears.
It's not that I felt guilty for our abundance; I felt compassion and powerlessness in light of the enormous poverty I've recently witnessed.
I had only a few things to purchase, but didn't think I'd make it. How strange would it be to see a middle-aged woman sobbing in the salad dressing aisle? I swiped at the tears threatening my cheeks, allowed my mind to linger only a moment on the faces in the hut where fifty-five of us crowded in to sing Shona praise, swallowed the lump in my throat, took care of business, and fled the store, forgetting one of the four things I intended to buy. I let a few tears escape on my way to the Bible study then wept at home later when I told Bob about it.
I know it'll be like that. When I'm in Zimbabwe I mostly function as the situation demands. Once home, I deal with the emotions of the experience. Often at all the wrong times and when I least expect it.
I see this morning that my one missing post written on Wednesday from Imire Game Park arrived at last. If it wasn't emailed directly to you, it's located between "Our hearts are full" and "We are SO in Africa." Ironically, it's titled "Better Late Than Never."
Pray for me today if you read this early: I've been awake since 2 am and finally gave up and got out of bed at 4:45. It's off to school in a little over an hour now, and I don't want to be a bear or a zombie for my students. It will likely take divine intervention.
Pray mostly for Zimbabwe and her people. I take great comfort in knowing that God is already at work intervening--I see it in the many Christians and other organizations stepping in to feed and clothe the people and treat the sick. I see it in the faith expressed by Zimbabwean men and women who have little more than faith to live on. I see it in the smile of an orphan who's treated with compassion by an old woman dishing up sadza.
Yes, WalMart did me in, but God binds me up. His compassion is far greater than mine and he comforts and intercedes in a way I am powerless to do. I rest in his faithfulness.